Unstable Actors, Alternating Currents: Reimagining Bureaucratic Knowledge Production in the Technopolitics of Development
Kintzi, Kendra Michelle
Contemporary international development bureaucracies are constituted by and operate through diverse actors whose work requires sustained interaction with changing material landscapes and the changing subjectivities of partners, clients, and intended beneficiaries. Understanding the production of knowledge and technical expertise within these bureaucracies requires a dynamic, historically contingent, and relational conceptualization of bureaucracy itself. This paper is divided into two parts: Part I critically examines the divergent ways that bureaucracy is framed within scholarly literature on the technopolitics of development, and the corresponding conceptual openings and closures that these different framings of bureaucratic rationality give rise to. Part II examines how permeable spaces of bureaucratic interaction continually reshape development projects through auto-ethnographic analysis of an evolving multilateral electricity development program in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper contributes to scholarly understanding of the social relations that shape the cultivation of specific forms of technical expertise, and calls for critical scholarly attention to the porous and dynamic dimensions of knowledge production within development bureaucracies. By foregrounding the relational, historically contingent forms of development bureaucracy, I hope to draw attention to its generative inconsistencies and reconfigurations that may, as yet, find unexpected uses.
Bureaucracy; Technopolitics; Development; Sociology
Wolford, Wendy W.; Minawi, Mostafa; Goldstein, Jennifer E.
M.S., Development Sociolog
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis